Sony never had any intention to block used games, says exec

Sony president Andrew House says that the company never thought about blocking used games, but adds that there's a "very careful balance" to be had.


Sony Computer Entertainment president and group CEO Andrew House has said that the company never had any intention of introducing DRM policies to block used games with the upcoming PlayStation 4.

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Questions about the PlayStation 4's policies towards game ownership started shortly after the machine was announced in February. "Dating from about our February event, there had been questions about what our online policy would be," said House in an interview with The Guardian (via Polygon).

While Microsoft initially tried to include measures restricting used game sales with the Xbox One, House said that Sony never had any intention to deviate from the traditional retail model. "I have to say that we were slightly perplexed, because we had no intention of changing from a model that I think has served us really well for several platform life-cycles."

The debate over used games and DRM has been one of the key themes surrounding the upcoming launch of the two next-generation consoles later this year, with Sony not clarifying its policies until its E3 2013 press conference. "Of course, it was really the actions of others, and the reaction coming from consumers, which led to more speculation. So we felt that with E3, and Monday night's press conference, it was a really good opportunity to set the record straight. But there weren't any changes that we'd been considering."

House said that he wasn't aware of any lobbying to include restrictions on used game sales from publishers like EA and Activision, either. "We didn't feel any sense that we needed to respond to any external pressure," he added.

The PlayStation executive also added that there's a "very careful balance" between game creators, customers, and retailers when it comes to the thorny issue of used sales. "We're a game publisher ourselves," said House, "so there's a certain argument for us that there should be something of a model for content-creators to participate in second sales."

"Having said that, however, the consumer sees ownership as a very key benefit when purchasing a physical product. And the flipside of the argument is that retailers will tell you that the vast majority of trade-in value gets immediately repurposed into new purchases of games, and those people in turn generate word of mouth and create more interest."

The Xbox One launches in November. Sony has yet to put a firm date on the PlayStation 4, but has assured customers it will be released before Christmas.

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